Friday, April 27, 2007

Travelling Violation

No wonder half of the airlines are in bankruptcy. What a screwed up, confusing and counterintuitive industry. I just got finished booking a flight back home to Connecticut for my grandfather's funeral. I ended up getting a flight when I want, and for a good price, so I'm not going to bitch about the results, but the process?...

I usually start on Orbitz and see what ballpark I'm in, what's available, etc. Shockingly, there are some cheap flights available ($200-$250 incl fees), if I make a stop. That's fine with me, I'm travelling alone. I don't see flights from Northwest (and I live near the hub, Detroit) so I go over there to check. My wife informs me we have a voucher with them, so book it if it's close. I also plan to inquire about bereavement rates. The flights at are a whopping $645. Sure they're direct, but the times suck too. Have to call for bereavement price...$479. Thanks, but no thanks.

Best flights/prices at Orbitz were on fresh-from-bankruptcy United Airlines. Go to United site...same flights are five bucks cheaper at $229. Lesson? Find your flight on Orbitz, but don't book with them. Call United to inquire about bereavement rate now that I have flight info. "The bereavement fare for that intinerary will be $359, would you like me to make that reservation for you?" Um, no thanks.

Why on earth would the bereavement "discount" be an extra $130? I wish I was quick enough on my feet to have asked when I was on the phone.

So in summation: Prices range by order of magnitude. Some fares must make a killing for the airlines while on others they take a bath. I fully expected to see flights in excess of $800-900 when I first punched stuff in at Orbitz. And while I appreciate it, there is no way you can sustain an airline by offering last-minute, one-night-stay fares for under $200 (which my flight was without the fees).

The problem is this, nobody likes to feel like they are getting screwed. When you go to book a flight, that is always in the back of your mind. Always. It's worse than buying a car. You are at the mercy of the airlines and the results are entirely and utterly unpredictable. Booking one day earlier or later might double or halve your price...

So, as I said, I got what I wanted, and got a great deal. But, I think my experience perfectly illustrates many of the flaws of the airline business model.


Yes, I am aware that using this forum to bitch about airlines is my way to avoid grieving...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Riding With Rickey

Welcome to the lineup, Mr. Henderson.

Asshole Thinks ’06 Election Was Mandate for Surge

I'm not so sure adding another scooop on top qualifies as a "dramatically different strategy" in Iraq, you dummy/liar. And I am pretty damn sure it's not what everybody voted the Democrats into power for.

Friday, April 20, 2007

"You Call Yourself a Daughter, You Son of a Bitch?"

Last month, I paid homage to Alec Baldwin — brilliant character actor, standout SNL guest, even good on politics — but what I just listened to at The Superficial leaves me pretty cold.

Baldwin left a message on his daughter's voicemail, and it made it's way onto YouTube...

It's straight-up fucking child abuse. He might be across the country, and she may not even hear his words as he utters them, but it is abuse nonetheless. She is eleven years old and he lays into her like the salesmen at Mitch and Murray. I actually couldn't listen to the whole thing.

I don't care about the epic custody battles with Kim Basinger, or how pissed you are, there is no excuse for this with your (or any) child. None.

God complex, indeed.

In a week when the Attorney General lied to Congress and the country for a full workday, a psychopath shoots up a college campus snuffing out the lives of 32 people, and an asshat blogger calls those victims pussies — Alec Baldwin sneaks in as the last-minute, upset, dark horse Dick of the Week.

UPDATE: My wife pointed out that I might have been a bit callous in referencing VaTech in this post, I want to make clear that Baldwin's selection as DOW in no way compares to what happened on Monday. Cho Seung-Hui is off the DOW charts — an insane person of historic and infamous proportion. Guys like that are not what DOW is all about, and I should have left him out of the discussion. Derbyshire's comments, on the other hand, put him in the driver's seat for DOW, but I went with Baldwin because as a father of two girls, and as a guy with nieces of the same age as Baldwin's daughter, I was really impacted by what I heard. [NOTE: link fixed, and slight editing of the VaTech portion]

UPDATE 2: If you are not familiar with the Baldwin monologue from Glengarry Glen Ross than you are not going to get half of the references in this post, including the title. Do yourself a favor and watch it. I guess now we know why Baldwin is so good at playing an asshole...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Bank

This is pretty good...

Al, The President's Man

The always enjoyable Dahlia Lithwick ties everything up in a neat bundle. Don't miss the graphic from the hearing that Sen. Whitehouse, a Republican busted out to contrast the Bush and Clinton White Houses. Hilarious.

Other notable Republican quotes?
Tom Coburn: It's "generous to say that there were misstatements" by Gonzales and others, Coburn said. "I believe that you ought to suffer the consequences," he said, adding that Gonzales ought to be judged by the same standards with which he judged the U.S. attorneys.

"The best way to put this behind us is your resignation."

Lindsay Graham: "...[You] made up reasons to fire them, because you wanted to get rid of them." "Mr. Attorney General, most of this is a stretch..."

Republicans on the Committee are now callling for his head, but through it all, we should remember that Gonzales serves at the "pleasure of the President." Well sounds like his job is safe...
White House: "President Bush was pleased with the Attorney General's testimony today. [...] The Attorney General has the full confidence of the President, and he appreciates the work he is doing at the Department of Justice to help keep our citizens safe from terrorists..."


On the Air-sick Bag

I am listening to the Gonzales hearing online on C-SPAN Radio (much better feed than the videos), and Orrin Hatch is just about making me wretch. Absolutely pathetic performance...

“So, Mr. Attorney General, is it true that you iron your own shirts?” “That’s fantastic.”
“Now about the coffee station in your office, is it true you decided to spring for the half and half for the staff yourself rather than use the government issue non-dairy creamer?” “You sound like a terrific boss.”

Ugh. It was just about that bad.

Not-so-bitchin' Camaro...

This rules

Model Camaro Display Weathered and Rusted - $25

Reply to:
Date: 2007-04-14, 12:23AM EDT

Incredible build of a model Camaro. Car appears to have seen it's better days. Countless hours went in to the weathering and distressing of this model. From the oil on the rocker arms to the very realistic rust and oxidation on the paint, this car looks genuine and will be a true conversation piece. Email with questions or to consign your own custom model.

It will go perfectly in the overgrown yard of my scale model trashy Arkansas shotgun shack. Seriously, anybody who ever built a plastic model can respect the work that went into this thing. I used to just soften a fender with a lighter and create a dent...this is a labor of love and the 25 bucks ought to work out to about 3 cents an hour for the time invested.

[h/t Jalopnik]

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Supreme Court Upholds Ban

Read this and tell me the Supreme Court made the right decision today. Seriously. Read it now and come back and finish this.


Angry now? You should be. There is NO WAY anybody could ever convince me that the government has any place in that story. While the woman who shared her story is certainly courageous, the unsung hero in that story is actually the doctor who performed her procedure—an exceedingly compassionate man no doubt painted as the ultimate bloodthirsty villain by the Right.

I have plenty of anger at Bush and the other assholes pictured above to say nothing of the Court's disingenuous majority. But that's like being angry at a shark—they do what they do because it's who they are. That picture was taken in 2003 when Bush signed this crap into law. It's taken four years, but they finally have their victory—trojan horse legislation designed to make ALL abortions illegal, and now blessed by the highest Court in the land.

My anger right now is directed at fools who thought there is no difference between parties or that the country isn't safe enough to turn over to Democrats. But especially at John Kerry.

Kerry and the Dems really blew it in 2004. THIS was the issue and they punted. The Supreme Court hung in the balance in 2004 like no time I can recall in my life. It is about more than Roe v. Wade—countless issues are due to come before the Court in the next year or two, and whoever would become President would get to single-handedly impact those events.

Bush won and appointed not one, but TWO Justices—and we all knew he would. Anything happens to Stevens, and Bush will have a chance to completely turn the Court and wreak havoc on the country that will last a generation or more with his next appointment of a young conservative Justice.

This is a terrible day, but the decision was, as Publius points out, effectively made in November 2004.


Atrios lists the Democratic Hall of Shame

His Kung Fu is Indeed Strong

John Rogers pens the definitve analysis on the whole Imus affair...
For all these years, Imus stayed, barely, on the right side of the power equation. Always gone after public figures, or his bosses ...

... but then he screwed up. He didn't steal power, he used it. Used it to say just shitty things about people who, in our minds, just didn't deserve it. He broke the power equation. And when he did, we balked, even if we don't quite understand why this one got under our skin. The wiring goes both ways. It's actually heartening, because it confirms one of the admirable things about American society at large:

America loves a rebel.

America loves a bad boy.

But America hates a fucking bully.

Is this the start of a sea change? I don't know. Some people are even distressed at all the attention being paid to this -- after all, he's a shock jock, he says shocking things, why are we doing the victory dance? I don't know about that. People lump all shock jocks together, never realizing the damage context-less bullies do while skating under the radar of other funny shock-jocks. These guys have gotten a pass for a long time, like our racist, drunk uncle at Thanksgiving. At some point you have to slam your beer down on the coffee table and say "That's not cool." Not everybody will agree with you, and your mom will accuse you of ruining the shared fiction of the family holiday, and let's face it, you're not really going to change anything ... but you know it's the right thing to do.

Blogroll: The Agitator & Andrew

Wandered by Radley Balko's place this morning, and after reading several excellent posts, I was left wondering why I never stuck him in the Blogroll. He's there now.

Dr. Phil's an ass.
• So is Jon Corzine
• An infuriating post on the Bush DOJ's priorities

Oh, and I am moving Andrew Sullivan (& Co.) up in the batting order since his column has been a must read these days, and he posts prolifically.

This post contained the link that sent me over to Balko, plus a grusome essay on why you should wear your seatbelt.
• The best post I've read regarding the Virginia Tech shootings and gun control.
• And, VaTech and Iraq.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Snake Eyes

Dice-K took another tough loss tonite. 10 Ks, 3 hits, 2 runs. Loses 2-1. I have to say, I like what I've seen thusfar, but this weekend (Yankees) will be the revealing test. So far the Sox are looking pretty good this season, and both the Yanks and jays are reeling with some key injuries. The Sox have like 10 of the next 13 games against those two teams—time to do damage.

Boston Pizza Party

Best. Game highlight and analysis. Ever.

Awesome! Jerry Remy is the best analyst working in sports and that clip alone should net him an Emmy and an Espy. And a Pulitzer. Hell, give him a Nobel prize too.

And Orsillo can barely contain himself... Thank God for Youtube.

[h/t KSK]

UPDATE: MLB has been pulling the videos of this down, you can see it here.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter's Over—Watch Your Ass!

First Anniversary Edition. Still the funniest thing I think I've ever seen on YouTube.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Doghouse Riley:
The one thing that needs to be remembered above all else concerning the flubbed serial candidacies of John McCain is the simple fact that the Press loved the guy. Bought the maverick crap and the straight-shooter shit like it was nickel beer, even though the high bullshit content was right there on the label, even though reading said label is said to be its job.

Keep Digging

Mitt Romney may or may not know how to use a gun, but he sure knows how to handle a shovel...
[link] Campaigning in Indianapolis on Thursday, Romney said he has hunted small game since his youth.

"I'm not a big-game hunter. I've made that very clear," he said. "I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will. I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then. More than two times."

"Varmints?" Are you serious, who the hell are you, Elmer Fudd? And exactly how many is "more than two?" Three? Four? Do yourself a favor and shut up, Mitt.

FRT: Back From the Grave and Ready to Party

It's been awhile. The iPod's been collecting dust since the baby was born in February. Here goes...

1. "Whale and Wasp" - AIC Brief acoustic(ish) interlude from Jerry Cantrell. I think I detect some bass too, so throw the bass player in there as well. A good start, but I looking to pick things up a bit. 7

2. "Fuzzed and Fading" - School of Fish You might know their hit, "Three Strange Days." A good band that should have done more. I found out years later they didn't because the lead singer died. Oh well. 7

3. "Groovy Train" - The Farm Am I at a design studio party in 1992? It's probably the last time I heard this. 6

4. "Indian War-Cry" - Laura Ingalls Wilder "Next morning Pa went whistling to his plowing..." Book on CD for my daughter in the car. It's no "A Scream in the Night", but as Little House chapters go, it's pretty good... No, I'm not going to count this one.

4. "Southern Cross" - Crosby, Stills and Nash So what if it's a little too easy-listening... Simply one of my all-time favorite songs. 10

5. "Hotel Yorba" - White Stripes A quickie. Less than two minutes of fun with Jack and Meg. 8

6. "Rehumanize Yourself'" - Police Sting can really play some bass. Give this one a listen some time. 7

7. "Emotional Rescue" - Stones Fucking tour de force for the rhythm section. Wyman and Watts lay down the law. A top three Stones song. Don't ask me what the other two are, they'll be different any given day, but any time I hear this song it catapults itself up there. 10

8. "From One Cums One" - fIREHOSE Standard 'HOSE. The boys must've been on the phone with Prince when they wrote down the title. 7

9. "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" - Wilco Hands-down my favorite Wilco tune. If more of their songs were like this one, I wouldn't find them so damn inaccessible. 9

10. "Angeles" - Elliott Smith Brilliant talent. Makes me sad every time I hear him to realize the misery he poured into his music was genuine enough to actually have ended his life. 8

7.9 average. Nice comeback. Plus, I beat Otto Man "to press."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Romney Pulls A McCain

Romney Calls Himself a Longtime Hunter

BOSTON -- In boasting about his lifelong experience as a hunter, Mitt Romney may have shot himself in the foot.

The Republican presidential contender has told audiences on several occasions, most recently this week in gun-savvy -- and early voting -- New Hampshire, that he has been a longtime hunter. But it turns out he has been on only two hunting trips.

Critics said it was the latest example of a White House aspirant willing to say anything to reach the Oval Office.

[...] In a question-and-answer session Tuesday in Keene, N.H., Romney spoke of his experience with hunting in a manner that suggested a close affiliation with the sport.

"I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life," he told a man sporting a National Rifle Association cap.

Yet the former Massachusetts governor's hunting experience came during two trips at the bookends of his 60 years: as a 15-year-old, when he hunted rabbits with his cousins on a ranch in Idaho, and last year, when he shot quail on a fenced game preserve in Georgia.

An aide said Wednesday that Romney was not trying to mislead anyone, although he confirmed Romney had been hunting only on those occasions in his life.

No attempt to mislead? You look a guy with an NRA hat in the face and tell him you've been a hunter all your life? Kerry got killed for shit that wasn't even close to this...

Between McCain's shopping excursion, Rudy's support for gov't-funded abortion, and Mitt "I'll Say Anything" Romney, I am really starting to like our chances in 08. Even if it's Hillary. These clowns are a fucking joke.

Monday, April 02, 2007

The San Diego er, Washington Chicken

Today is Opening Day (a glorious day, by the way) but one person will be conspicuously absent from the festivities. President Bush will not attend any games, nor will he throw out the first pitch.
[WaPo] Except for when the world was at war, only two other presidents, Woodrow Wilson and Richard M. Nixon, missed Opening Day ceremonies two years in a row. And Wilson had suffered a stroke.

What gives?

"Oh, yes, he was invited," said Bush spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore. She said the president, an avid baseball fan and former part owner of the Texas Rangers, would love to be there. But "it's not possible with his schedule. He's got various meetings during the day, a meeting earlier in the morning. . . . It just wasn't going to work out."

[...] With Bush's approval ratings stuck below 40 percent in recent polls, Lawrimore was asked whether the president feared he'd get booed. "No," she replied. "Certainly not."

Yeah, perish the thought. This has to be killing President Dress-up. He would love nothing more than to strap on his biggest cup, strut out to the mound and have all of his media lapdogs proclaim what a strapping, athletic man he is.

Avowed fan and former baseball owner, right? But he's a fucking pussy when it comes right down to it. He is afraid to face 40,000 non-hand-picked people, and that's all it really boils down to. He KNOWS he'd be booed, so he won't do it. Last year when his numbers were tumbling, Cheney faced the catcalls for him, this year they both have "scheduling conflicts."

Bwak, bwak...